Saturday, July 12, 2008

Colour Does Not Matter, Pageants Are For Colluders

On June 23 Kristen Elizabeth White of Georgia, was crowned Miss Black USA. After parading herself around on a stage she came away with a crown, a two week vacation and a $20,000 scholarship.  Take a moment to express your over whelming joy. Did it sink in yet?  Black women are being validated. Are you thrilled yet? Well if you are, shame on you.

In  what   world does mirroring the sexism aimed at white women count as the validation of black women?  Are we so blind that we cannot see that these pageants, or "scholarship contests" as they like to call it, demean women?  If it is about judging women on value, why are they parading around in evening dresses with deep thigh high slits?  The desire to turn beauty into a contest confirms the idea that what is really valuable about women is our physical appearance, and not the possibility that we may have a functioning brain, in our sweet little heads.

Whether it is TV1's list of the sexist black women alive, or this so-called "scholarship contest", it all comes down to social discipline.  We need to move beyond it, and stop allowing ourselves to be judged on the terms of others.  I cannot believe that black women proudly stand upon a stage to be judged, can they not feel the recriminations of their foremothers who stood naked upon auction blocks?

Though these women feel that they are different than the black women that perform gender in sexist hip hop videos, there essentially is no difference. Colluding is colluding ladies. Just because it is done in a fancy evening dress with some overly processed hair, does not absolve you of the guilt by association. When you place yourself on display to satisfy the male gaze, you are hurting the advancement of women.  So you elitist colluders I am calling you out. 

The idea that I am supposed to view Kristen Elizabeth White as a role model, is absolutely ridiculous.  This is a woman that says that Michelle Obama is a role model but still states her ideal life/career is to be a main character on the Young and the Restless.  You know, one of those "major characters that never gets killed off".  While she may feel that this is a step above the stereotypical beauty queens wish for world peace, to me it is the sign of a woman that really does not know what  matters, and who counts in this world.  I don't want a woman like that representing black womanhood for me.  So you colluding agents of patriarchy, you can send all your false prophets in "refined clothing" in my direction, but you will never persuade me to accept a colluder, as a fine example of the best that black women have to offer. My mind has been decolonized and I will not be assimilated.


9 comments:

Monika said...

This was powerful and bang on.

Octogalore said...

"turn beauty into a contest" -- nice phrasing. You're right. Validation is when WOC (and white women) are treated like people.

Renee said...

When I think of all the wonderful work of white feminists to point out how terrible beauty pageants are I cannot get over the fact that WOC jumped on this as some sort of affirmative action.

Amadi said...

I agree with your assessment of pageants, but I'm not sure what's wrong with a goal of being a lead character in a daytime soap. The woman wants to act, she's drawn to that genre, it's not one that's going away and it's one that has power to it, so where's the drawback?

Renee said...

@amadi it is not that I have a problem with acting..I have a problem with the choice of The Young And The Restlessas her choice. Acting opens possibilities of exploring libertory roles for WOC, I doubt that she will find such enlightenment on a daily soap opera.

DiosaNegra1967 said...

"...The desire to turn beauty into a contest confirms the idea that what is really valuable about women is our physical appearance, and not the possibility that we may have a functioning brain, in our sweet little heads....

B-I-N-G-O!

But all in all...I think BW were so quick to jump on the pagent train, IMHO, because we were desperate for our particular brand of beauty to be seen and/or validated on a grand scale. We wanted to show the world (or at least, America) that "Black is Beautiful"...

But, I think the time has come for something new....

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